Bob and Ira Spring films, approximately 1953-1961

Overview of the Collection

Bob and Ira Spring films
approximately 1953-1961 (inclusive)
1 folder : Text
18 reels (7,291 feet) of film : silent/sound, color/black and white ; 8mm and 16mm
Collection Number
Films created by Seattle photographers Bob and Ira Spring related to hiking, skiing and traveling throughout Washington State, and films created for the Mountain Rescue Council. One reel of film shows traditional style boats in a harbor on Leyte Island of the Philippines.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Viewing copies are available for public use.

The original reels and duplicating masters are not accessible due to preservation concerns.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mountaineers Foundation and the Mountain Rescue Council

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Bob and Ira Spring were twins born in Olympia, Washington on December 24, 1918 to Elliot Beebe Spring, an accountant, and Allena Loomis Spring, a teacher. The Spring children, while growing up in Olympia and Shelton, Washington, engaged in outdoor activities with their parents from a young age. In 1929 their father took them on their first overnight trip to High Divide in the Olympic Mountains and they both became passionate about hiking and mountains. The twins acquired their first cameras in 1930 through the Kodak Camera Company's 50th anniversary promotional giveaway of a camera and a roll of film to any child twelve years old that year (born in 1918). They roamed the trails exploring and taking photographs. Ira worked summers of 1937-1941 for the Rainier National Park Company in the Paradise Inn and managing the photo shop.

During World War II, Bob served in Africa, Italy and Germany with an army field hospital as an x-ray technician. He took personal photographs of occupied and liberated Europe. Some of these photographs were later donated to the Holocaust Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Ira served in the South Pacific as a ground photographer with the Army Air Corps, taking photographs from open bomb bays with crew members holding on to his legs.

After their discharge from the army at the end of World War II, Bob and Ira Spring set up a photography business in Seattle. The Seattle Times commissioned photographic spreads from the brothers for the Sunday edition rotogravure section. Their first assignment was to photograph the Mountaineers 1946 summer outing hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. In the 1950s, the Springs began to publish travel books featuring their photography of climbing and exploration of the Pacific Northwest. By 1967, the brothers decided to take on separate freelance jobs, but they continued to use the Bob and Ira Spring credit line for their solo works. Bob and his wife Norma concentrated their work on Alaska, producing several books on the people, wildlife, and the land. Members of the Society of American Travel Writers, they spoke and wrote about international travel as a means of promoting understanding and peaceful relationships between countries. They worked with Alaska Airlines to develop charter flights to the USSR during the Cold War. A significant part of Ira's career was his photography for the Mountaineers publications, which included the famous "100 Hikes" series guidebooks for particular regions in the Pacific Northwest. The books were very popular and even led to some overcrowding on the trails featured in the books after publication. Ira was an activist for protecting trails and access to the wilderness and became a founding member of the Washington Trails Association. He also served on the board of the Mountaineers and REI. Bob and Ira were three-time recipients of the Governor's Literary Award and in 1992 Ira received the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award for his work in trails and conservation.

Best known for their photographs, Bob and Ira also made films. These covered such diverse subjects as promotion of tourism in Washington State, advertising, climbing in the Cascades, instructional films on climbing and mountain rescue made for The Mountaineers, and home movies of Ira's family and his trip back to the South Pacific in the late 1950's.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Films of scenery and outdoor activities such as backpacking, hiking, climbing and skiing, in the Pacific Northwest. They also made mountain rescue instruction films for the Mountain Rescue Council. There are additional films related to their time in the Phillippines.

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Titles of films are italicized when they are used as a title in the film. Unitalicized titles have been derived from notes on film cans, the film leaders, or as descriptions of film content.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital versions of the collection

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the Special Collections division of the University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The films were originally in the custody of The Mountaineers History Committee.

Acquisition Information

Donor: The Mountaineers, 2011

Processing Note

Processed by Sarah Freeman, Jonathan King, Sheila Mitchell, Hannah Palin, Jaki Parsons, and Susan Fitch, 2012-2014

Films were transferred from PH Coll 1047, The Mountaineers Film Collection, 2015.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Bob and Ira Spring Film CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Versions of Ira Spring family backpacking in Cascade Pass
Three films. Item 2 includes footage that does not appear in item 1.The Ira Spring family (Ira, his wife Pat and their children John and Vicky) backpack to Cascade Pass. The family loads backpacks around a station wagon, hikes, plays in streams, sets up camp, cooks, cares for the baby, bathes in a pool and John sleds in a dishpan down a snowfield.
circa 1953
viewcopy item
VC280 1
  Ira Spring family backpacking in Cascade Pass
Original1 film reel (650 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M1]
The content of this reel is the same as Item 2, except it does not include footage of the family in an ice cave.
circa 1953
VC281 2
  Ira Spring family backpacking, Cascade Pass
Original1 film reel (440 feet) : print, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M02]
The content of this reel is the same as Item 1, with additional footage of the family in an ice cave.
circa 1953
VC281 3
Ira Spring family backpacking, Cascade Pass
Outtakes of the Ira Spring family backpacking.
Original1 film reel (100 feet) : print, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M2]
circa 1953
viewcopy item
VC282 4
  Mountain Rescue Techniques
A group including Ome Daiber simulates a mountain rescue and demonstrates technical rescue technique, possibly on Mount Si. A man ties into a climbing rope and leads the way up a cliff, placing pitons for safety. Rescuers haul a litter up the cliff, assemble it, and lower an accident victim. Rescuers rappel down the cliff and transport the victim to the cars.
Original1 film reel (400 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M3]
circa 1953
VC283 5
  America's Last Frontier: The Olympic Peninsula
A promotional film for the Washington State Ferries, produced by Criterion Films, featuring scenes of landscapes around the Olympic Peninsula.Ira and Pat Spring and their children, John and Vicky, take a trip around the Olympic Peninsula by ferry and automobile. They feed and pet deer, ride on ferries across Hood Canal, cross the Agate Pass bridge. Scenes include wildflowers, Poulsbo, the Chimacum Valley, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge, the Olympic Mountains, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc River and Hot Springs Resort, the harbor at Seiku, Neah Bay, Cape Flattery, Tatoosh Island, the Hoh Rainforest, the harbor at La Push, Lake Quinault Lodge, and Navy ships at Bremerton.
Original1 film reel (500 feet) : print, sound, black and white ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M3]
circa 1954
VC284 6
Ice Climbing on Mt Rainier
Narration describes the climb of Mt. Rainier, including safety issues, climbing techniques and scenery along the route.Long distance view of Mount Rainier and close-ups of glaciers. A group of climbers, probably Gary Rose, Dave Nicholson, and Joan and Carol Marston, load their packs at Paradise. A National Park Service ranger inspects their gear. The climbers explore ice caves by torchlight. They continue to Camp Muir and set up tents. The afternoon is spent practicing with crampons, jumping crevasses on belay, and exploring the Cowlitz Glacier. The climbers walk through jumbled crevasses and chop steps up icy pinnacles. The climbers reach the summit in the morning and prepare to camp in the crater. They melt snow over steam vents before preparing supper.
Original1 film reel (500 feet) : print, sound, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M04]
circa 1954
Versions of Mountain Rescue Council safety film showing helicopter rescue
Ome Daiber speaks to a group gathered in the parking lot at Stevens Pass. One group of rescuers starts up the mountain with packs and other equipment. A Coast Guard helicopter arrives and some of the rescuers get on board. The helicopter flies to a ridgeline and off-loads men and equipment without touching down. Rescuers load an accident victim into a litter and lower her from the ridge using a cable trolley. The helicopter picks up the litter and flies down to the parking lot.Item 7 and Item 8 are primarily the same footage, though each version contains scenes not included in the other.
viewcopy item
VC285 7
  Mountain Rescue Council safety film showing helicopter rescue (Original)
Original1 film reel (395 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M1Includes scenes of helicopter flight and pilot which do not appear in Item 8.
circa 1954-1955
VC286 8
  Mountain Rescue Council safety film showing helicopter rescue (Print)
Original1 film reel (395 feet) : print, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M5]Includes an additional scene in which a man is lifted into the helicopter. This scene does not appear in item 7.
circa 1954-1955
viewcopy item
VC287 9
Skiing Above the Clouds
Sponsored by Fisher Flour Mills' Zoom instant cereal.Four skiers, John Carter, Bob and Ira Spring, and Paul Wiseman, plan a traverse from Paradise to the White River across the glaciers of Mount Rainier. The group climbs to Camp Muir. They tour and ski among the crevasses on the Emmons Glacier below the north face of Little Tahoma Peak. Later, the skiers travel to a camp on the other side of the mountain. They explore scenic crevasses, making delicate crossings on skis. Includes scenes of packing and eating Zoom cereal.
Original1 film reel (550 feet) : print, sound, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Color: 1048.M6]
circa 1954
VC288 10
Ice rescue
A silent, extended version of the crevasse rescue sequence in Mountains Don't Care(Item 13), including more detail of rescue equipment and techniques. A pair of roped climbers demonstrate a crevasse fall and self-rescue using prussiks. Features Ome Daiber.
Original1 film reel (550 feet) : print, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M7]
circa 1955
VC289 11
  Outtakes from Mountain Rescue films
Outtakes from various mountain rescue films.A man sits on a hillside with a rifle, people climb on a glacier while roped up, a man practices ice axe arrest. A man and a young woman (probably Carol Marston) rock climb. A man demonstrates crossing a snowbridge over a crevasse. People camp in tents in the mountains, look at topographical maps, and hike on a ridge in the fog. View of a Mountain Rescue Council badge. Men in a parking lot load rescue equipment. Hiking in the Paradise Meadows at Mt. Rainier, dropping a bag on a line into a crevasse. A man rappels into the crevasse, bringing another man down the trail in a litter. Ome Daiber explains to the friend of the accident victim about proper equipment.
Original1 film reel (100 feet) : print, sound, color; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M5]
circa 1956
VC290 12
  Paradise Ice Caves tour
A guided tour of the Paradise Ice Caves, beginning at the Paradise guide house, where two women emerge and turn around to display the backs of their coasting pants. A party hikes meadow trails across Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls and through the Golden Gate area towards the Paradise Glacier. They cross a snowfield to the cave entrance. Includes scenes photographed inside the Ice Caves by torchlight. Afterward, the party enjoys coasting (seated glissading in groups) on nearby snowfields.
Original1 film reel (200 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M10]
circa 1957
Mountains Don't Care
viewcopy item
VC291 13
Mountains Don't Care
Description of mountaineering hazards. A man falls into a crevasse on the Nisqually Glacier. A mountain rescue team responds to a summons for help. One of the Whittaker twins (either Jim or Lou) is lowered into the crevasse and the victim is hauled out on a litter. The litter is converted into a Stokeski stretcher and the rescuers take the victim to safety.Demonstration of how to avoid mountaineering accidents, filmed between Cascade Pass and Koolaid Lake. A young couple (Jack Cavanaugh and Carol Marston Bogert) accompany experienced mountaineers Ome and Matie Daiber on a multi-day trip in the North Cascades. Ome Daiber demonstrates making a fire in wet conditions, route finding and climbing on snow. He talks the couple out of attempting Mount Formidable and suggests an easier peak. They practice self-arrest, use of crampons and belaying on rock.In the morning, Ome and Matie Daiber waddle around camp in their Penguin sleeping bags preparing breakfast. The party begins the climb, which requires roped climbing on rock, glacier travel, crevasse jumps and a final scramble to the summit. Filmed on Sahale Arm, the Middle Cascade Glacier and points in between. Ome leads the party back to camp by compass in the fog.
Original1 film reel (800 feet) : print, sound, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M8].
A silent, extended version of the rescue sequence appears in Item 10Ice Rescue.The film was photographed in the summer of 1956 and released by the Mountain Rescue Council in 1957. This print was made in 1965.
1 13A
Brochures forMountains Don't Care
Advertising brochures for the Mountain Rescue Council's film Mountains Don't Care.
circa 1957
viewcopy item
VC292 14
  Artist Point ski tour and Paradise Ice Caves
This film has two sections.Three hikers explore inside the Paradise Ice Caves.A backcountry ski tour to Artist Point near the Mt Baker ski area. Scenes around the ski area, the ski patrol at work, and avalanche control using explosives. The ski touring party climbs to Artist Point with Mt. Baker in the distance. On the descent, a skier falls and is injured. Party members construct a shelter using skis and fir boughs.
Original1 film reel (800 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M1]
circa 1958
VC293 15
Artist Point ski clips
A ski rescue training film shot at the Artist Point Ski Area at Mt. Baker. Rescuers on skis pull a victim in a litter over the snow, and a rescuer arrives with a litter to assist a man lying in the snow. Men and women ski across a hillside with Mt. Baker in the background.
Original1 film reel (50 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M5]
ca. 1958
VC294 16
  Leyte Island, Philippines
Traditional style boats in a harbor on Leyte Island in the Philippines. Local people in an open-air market.
Original1 film reel (100 feet) : camera original, silent, color ; 8mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M6]
circa 1958
VC295 17
  The Boys on the Cliff
Scenes of a lost hunter. The narrator describes what to do when lost in the wilderness and how to be safe in the mountains by being prepared with necessary skills and proper equipment. The final scene promotes the story that appears in the August, 1961 issue ofReaders Digest.Contains footage from Mountains Don’t Care(Item 13).
Original1 film reel (125 feet) : print, sound, black and white ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M3]
circa 1961
VC296 18
  Camel Cigarette commercial
An advertisement for Camel cigarettes. "Robert Byhre, Mountain Rescue Expert" rappels down a rock face with a litter to rescue an injured man. Robert is hauled up the rock face, and sits by a mountain stream smoking, while an announcer talks about Camel cigarettes.
Original1 film reel (50 feet) : print, sound, black and white ; 16mm [Duplicating Master: 1048.M5]
circa 1961

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Helicopters in search and rescue operations
  • Logging--Northwest, Pacific--Photographs
  • Mountains--Northwest, Pacific--Photographs
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Spring, Bob, 1918-2012--Photographs
  • Spring, Ira--Photographs

Corporate Names

  • Mountain Rescue Council

Geographical Names

  • Baker, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Rainier, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Shuksan, Mount (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Washington (State), Eastern--Photographs
  • Washington (State)--Photographs

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Daiber, Ome (presenter)
    • Spring, Bob, 1918-2012 (photographer)
    • Spring, Ira (photographer)